No Way Out

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“No Way Out” is a novel that portrays the hardship of a poor family living in slum which is happening in today’s world. It seems like problems are approaching the family every ways, and the family always think there’s no way out from these problems. But is it because there is no way out, or is it because they don’t know there’s a way out?

I think the core of their hardships is lack of education. For Boonma, he is not able to read, so he signs the contract to borrow money without knowing that he will be taken advantages of. For both Boonma and his wife, they are not able to find well-paid job because their education level limits the jobs they can work for. For the children, if they get to study, they would receive more opportunities to find well-paid job, so that they can take care of their family. When everyone says, “you can’t choose where you will born, but you can choose your own path,” it’s almost impossible. You environment and financial status kind of set your path already, and it’s really hard to break out of the chain if you aren’t educated well enough.

I think what social should consider is the fact that not everyone will receive the same opportunity, and when you say “equality should exist,” do you really mean it? If equality means you have to live like a poor family and give up all your privilege, do you still want equality to exist? How about saying “giving opportunity to poor?” Because everyone comes from different place and different background, some might have more privilege than others, but if opportunities are given to everyone, I think everyone would be able to make use of the given opportunities.

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Karma

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Since I was young, I was taught using the beliefs or karma. “If you want to live in a good condition next life, you will have to be a good person in this life,” often said my mom, so I am living with the belief that I have to be nice to everyone. I grow up trying to be as good as possible, but as I grow, I learn that life isn’t all about being good. It’s about making decision whether you will walk on the right or wrong path, and my belief that good action will lead to good life in my next life fades. I turn my perspective to believe that my action in this life will determine my future in this life not next life. In the end, no one can be 100% good, so why live your life morally when you can live freely?

In “No Way Out,” all the characters hold the belief that they must have done something bad in their past lives, so they have to suffer this lives, and I totally disagree with their perspectives. It’s true that they can’t choose how they are born, but they can choose to make their lives better. If they still stick with the beliefs of past lives, then they wouldn’t have the motivation to live better lives. For them, it seems like everything has been determined already, and they always end up blaming their past lives. If only they focus on their lives in the present, they would know that they can still change the way they live. Only if they blame themselves earlier….

A Strange Library – Murakami

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A Strange Library is a story about a little boy who goes to the town’s library to return and check out books like usual, but one day, he gets kidnapped by an old man who is in charge of the books in the basement. The boy is tricked by the old man, so he is leaded through a very complicated maze and is locked inside a reading room. He is told to memorize the three books the old man gives him, and if he can complete this task, he’ll be able to leave. He meets Mr.Sheep Man who is in charge of bringing him donuts and meals, and he also meets a thin girl who brings him dinner. Mr. Sheep Man tells him that the old man lies and will eat his brain instead of letting him go, so the boy comes up with a plan to escape. He escapes with Mr. Sheep Man and the thin girl, but they end up getting caught by the old man. Luckily, the boy’s eagle comes and help them escape, and the boy gets home safely.

There are both what I like and dislike about this book. I like the plot of the story because it encourages me to wonder what will happen next, and I also like the pictures on each page of the book because they are unique. However, I think the ending is a bit confusing since the boy’s eagle doesn’t play a big part throughout the story. I was actually expecting a lot more from the ending, but it doesn’t meets my expectation.

The Survivor (Trude Silman)

Trude in 2010, copyright Paul Banks

Trude was born in 1929 which was when there was the Wall Street Crash; she grew up in Bratislava, Czecholsovakia and escaped to England when she was nine. Her family was a middle-class family, and her childhood was fulfilled. She was living her normal life with activities provided by her aunt. She had limited memory of Hitler and the chaos in Germany because she was sent to England not long after Hitler came in power and was helped by her aunt to survive the holocaust. She stayed at a foster home while she was in England and was terribly homesick in the first month, but the family did their best to comfort her. Later on, she moved to London to stay with her aunt and uncle along with her siblings. Trude became a scientist, and she never stopped searching for her family who were left behind in Germany.

Trude’s story stands out to me because her story is different from others’ stories I’ve heard before. It isn’t traumatized and dramatic. She shows me that holocaust couldn’t drag her to sad ending; instead, she succeeded as a scientist. Her story portrays another aspect of how holocaust could change a person’s life positively; that’s why her story is powerful to me.

Apocalypse

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And the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the whole moon became as blood.

Turning from Plato to the rocky sergeant,

His mouth explosive with the sake of god,

Splatter your hate on targets, tear the sandbag,

Still fiercer in the whistling vitals prod.

This game is not the lamplit game of childhood.

Fair players are derided and shot through.

For black is white as lead and limb turn color;

And usual here is lightning from the blue.

– John Frederick Nims

Apocalypse¬†itself means violent event, and it this context, it is describing World War II which was full of hatred, anger, and violence. The poem is can be separated into two parts. The first part is describing the setting which is already destroyed and collasped; the atmosphere is also full of hatred and irritation. Everyone is ready to get up and stab the enemy when there’s a chance. I can feel the blood, sweat, and tear of the soldiers in this war. The second part is comparing the war to a game; however, this is a serious game, and the players are ready to risk their lives in this game. The situation is so harsh that the sun and the moon can’t handle it anymore.

Dozens of figurative languages are used in the poem. Starting from the beginning, metaphor is used to compare the sun to the sackcloth or hair and the moon to blood to demonstrate how bad the war turns out. The war is also compared to a game, and soldiers are the players in that game. Each has one life, and one must use this chance wisefully. The author, John Frederick Nims, also use contrasting word, black and white, to clearly present the change as black and white are known as opposing colors. He uses strong verb such as splatter to make his poem more expressive and to paint a picture for readers.

From the title, Apocalypse, the tone is already set for the poem; violence is definitely the main focus of the poem followed by blood, anger, and hatred. If these four factors are together, they can become a powerful force to destroy everything. In this poem, many negative factors are combined, so the war becomes violence to the point where humanity might disappear. People no longer care about right or wrong, but all they care about is to survive and win the war. They use their feelings instead of their thoughts which is why the motivation to kill becomes stronger and stronger.

Nationalism

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A century ago, war, weapons, and propaganda were very common. U.S. was known as the strongest, and they would try to conquer every single space in this world. Back during that period, every country was focusing on colonization, but conquering came with protecting, they still have to protect their own countries from being defeated. All of it resulted from nationalism, the patriotic feeling of independence.

Lessons were passed from generation to generation, and the most important lesson I learned from history is to love our own homeland because it was where we were born. But for Thailand, it was even more than where I was born. My ancestor sacrificed their lives to save Thailand, and as a result, Thailand never lost its independent to anyone. Thailand wasn’t a piece of land, but it’s the symbol for the unity, sacrifice, and heart of Thailand; it is Thai’s pride.

Nowadays, it is impossible to be independent. Every country must depend on each other, and we help one another when one is facing hardship. Nationalism still exist, but it fades as time passes. As nationalism fades, there are both advantages, and disadvantages to the world. Even though people in the same country don’t seem to be unified, the world does which is beneficial to everyone. It’s totally worth it to lose a bit but gain a lot.

War of Ideas

 

184304-The-Nature-s-Lightbulb.jpgIt is impossible for an idea or belief to be wrong, but it is possible for the action that follows the idea or belief to be wrong. Everyone has the freedom to believe in any religion, culture, or ideas he or she wants to, and no one can judge their his or her path. People come from different background, grow in different area, and are taught differently, it is not possible for every single one of them to hold the same belief. Relating back to Islamic fundamentalists, they have the right to believe in anything they want, but they don’t have the right to kill or violate others. Moreover, they killed people who didn’t even have a chance to choose their own path but just unluckily fell under control of those people who suddenly stood up and considered themselves the leader.

In 21st Century, everyone has different opinion on the value we should strive forward and on how winning the war of ideas is like. I think the value we should strive for is to be yourself and think the way you want to; it’s no longer the period of following your group of friend. You have to be able to stand out and show the world who you really are. No matter what belief or value you’re striving for, as long as it doesn’t affect others, you’re striving for the right thing. To win the “war of ideas,” I think is to do nothing. Just stay where you are because there’s no way you can win the war of ideas. No one is able to set the standard for the best or worst ideas because all of us has completely different thought and would think their own thoughts are already correct. Ideas, beliefs, and opinions are unjudgeable, so winning war of ideas is impossible.